Frost Protection for Vineyards & Orchards
The Sonoma County Vineyard and Orchard Frost Protection Ordinance requires the registration of all vineyard and orchard frost water protection systems in the Russian River Watershed with the Sonoma County Department of Agriculture (the Agricultural Commissioner).
- Systems need to be registered before they are used;
- Registrations must be amended within 30 days following any change to the vineyard or orchard sprinkler frost protection system or the owner/operator;
- Frost protection systems using treated waste/recycle water are included in the county registration program; and
- Registration is only required for systems within the Russian River Watershed. Find out if your system falls within the Russian River Watershed Frost Protection Map Russian River Watershed (PDF: 1.03 MB) from the map that outlines this area.
New and Amended Registration Requires:
- Completing a frost protection registration form Frost Protection Registration Form (PDF: 572 kB) which includes an inventory of the frost protection system for initial and amended registrations.
- Submitting an aerial map (photo) of the site with your vineyard/orchard and main components of your frost protection system noted and numbered. You can create and print your map from Google maps. Color is preferred but not required. For amendments: fill out new registration form, or registrants may modify an existing map, date, and initial if the information remains clear. More information about maps can be found on page 4 of the instructions available in the link below.
- Paying a $64 fee, except for frost protection systems exclusively using treated waste water, then the fee is waived. The fee is charged for initial and amended registrations.
- Submitting the registration form, map, and fee payment. Once completed, three items should be hand delivered or mailed to: Sonoma County Department of Agriculture, 133 Aviation Boulevard, Suite 110, Santa Rosa, CA 95403. Please also make a copy for your records. If you have questions, contact our office by phone (707) 565-2371 or email email@example.com.
Frost Protection Registration Form (PDF: 572 kB)
Frost Protection Requirements and Registration Instructions (PDF 1.54 MB)
Frost Protection Negative Declaration Form (PDF: 378 kB)
State Water Resources Control Board’s Russian River Frost Protection Regulation
The Sonoma County Department of Agriculture does not administer this state regulation. The following information is for informational purposes only. A basic requirement of this regulation includes:
- Water demand management program (WDMP). After March 14, 2015, any diversion of water from the Russian River stream system for purposes of frost protection from March 15 through May 15 shall be diverted in accordance to a State Water Resources Control Board approved WDMP, except for diversion upstream of Warm Springs Dam in Sonoma County. Your county registration and documents are important first steps to having a WDMP.
To become part of a collaborative grower lead WDMP you may enlist as a participant in the Russian River Water Conservation Council’s WDMP. There is a Registration/Participation Agreement form for you to fill out, see second link listed below. For more information, please visit the North Coast Water Coalition’s website, see first link listed below. There are also links listed below to the State Water Resources Control Board’s information on the regulations and WDMP.
North Coast Water Coalition
State Water Board's Russian River Frost Protection Regulation Page
Frost Protection and Water Conservation Information from Sonoma Winegrape Commission
Frost Protection Information from UCCE Sonoma County